ALCOY, Cebu — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu renewed his reminders to local officials in Cebu City not to let their guard down yet on the fight against the coronavirus.
Cimatu, who was in Alcoy town in southern Cebu last Friday, September 25, confirmed to reporters that he met with barangay captains in Cebu City through a video conference shortly before his visit here.
“We must continue and sustain our fight against (the coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19] pandemic). We should not and will not relax our health measures until we have reached zero cases or until there’s a vaccine,” said Cimatu in a mix of English and Tagalog.
The secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in the Visayas.
His task was to intervene and provide support to the city government in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to manageable levels after experts noted a surge in new cases last June.
To recall, the IATF-MEID last June reverted Cebu City to the strictest mode of community quarantine — enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) — due to rapid transmission of the virus that caused a spike in new cases, deaths, and has even overwhelmed hospitals.
Cimatu said his recent reminders to village officials came after he noticed some barangays in Cebu City recording double-digit in the number of new COVID-19 cases after the city downgraded to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
“While indeed we have observed a massive drop in the cases, and saw single-digit instances. But I’m concerned about some barangays reporting double-digits,” said Cimatu.
“This is why I gathered the barangay captains and talked to them. And reminded them that our target for Cebu City to be placed under the ‘new normal classification’ is for it to reach zero COVID cases,” he added.
CDN Digital has opted not to reveal the names of the barangays the Cabinet member is referring to until they have responded to the issue.
Meanwhile, Cimatu said he had yet to look into the position of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) that thumbed down the Cebu City government’s proposal to establish a new cemetery in Barangay Pulangbato for residents whose relatives passed away in relation to COVID-19.
Cebu City has been under MGCQ since September 1.
As of September 25, data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) showed that the city has documented a total of 9,963 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Of this number, exactly 8,900 have already recovered. However, 672 others have passed away.
Cebu City’s active cases are now at 961, DOH – 7 said. /dbs